Taking Care of Business: How to Care for Bras

March 17, 2016 at 11:05 am

As a lazy teenager and then somehow-even-lazier college student, my method of washing bras was to throw them in the washer and hope for the best. I didn’t use a mesh bag. I maybe used the delicates setting. (Sorry, Mom. I’m sure you taught me better.) But as most women know: bras are expensive. And if your cup size is bigger than a D and your band size larger than 38 inches, well you better be prepared to spend even more because you can’t find what you need at Victoria’s Secret. So why on God’s green earth didn’t I try to take the best care possible of my bras so I could stop replacing them at an obscene rate?

Yeah, I don’t know either.

I wear a 34G, which I only figured out after college. That’s right—I spent at least 8 years of my life randomly hoping that whatever bra I had on fit correctly, or at least fulfilled a basic job of keeping my tits in the right spot and not out for all to see. Once I realized what wearing a properly fitting bra did for me, well, things got out of control.

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As of today, I own twelve bras. And not cheap bras, either. Usually I can catch a sale, but that still sets me back $40-$50 per bra, if I’m lucky. One of my go-to t-shirt bras? Sixty-six dollars. I know, it pains me, too. Eventually it became very clear that if I, as a mature adult, was going to spend more than $500 on a bra collection, I damn well needed to take decent care of them because I can’t spend that kind of money all the time. And guess what—it’s not actually that difficult or time consuming.

 

The basics:

The good news is that unlike underwear, you don’t have to wash a bra after each wear. After 3-6 wears is probably a decent rule of thumb. Since I’m a ridiculous person who owns twelve bras to rotate through, I can put off Bra-Washing Day for a while. (Which, now that I’ve written that down, seems kind of icky, but oh well. Sorry not sorry.) If you can’t remember how many times you’ve worn a bra, the smell test is a gross-but-dependable way to figure out when you need to wash a bra and when you can get one more wear out of it.

You don’t need fancy detergent or intimates-specific soap to wash your bras. Baby shampoo works just fine, or a light detergent if you must. Woolite is one brand name that is mentioned a lot. It seems to be pretty polarizing among bloggers, but if it’s been around for this long, it must be doing something right.

If I’m washing one bra, I’ll use the sink. If I’m washing several bras (as I usually am), I’ll use the bathtub. Regardless, please, please, please make sure that you’ve cleaned wherever you plan on washing your bras.

 

Actually getting your bras clean:

Fill the tub or sink with enough warm water to cover your bras along with a small amount of your cleaning product of choice. Add your bras and let them soak for 10 minutes.

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After however long you managed to wait (hopefully at least 5 minutes), gently press and work the bras to release the grease, dirt, and what-have-you from the fabric. Be gentle! Especially with formed cups—you want the cups to keep their shape, so don’t bend or press the material too hard.

By this point, the water will look nasty and you’ll be horrified by what has been hanging around next to your tits. Make a silent promise to be better. Who knows, maybe this time you’ll actually keep it!

Drain the tub and then rinse well in cool water.

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Drying your bras:

If you have ever put your bras in the dryer, please make a solemn vow right this instant to never do so again. I’ll wait.

 

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Now that you know better, let’s move on.

The best way to dry bras is by air drying, either by laying them flat or using a drying rack. If you do use a rack, don’t hang them by the straps—you don’t want to stretch them out!

Usually, I’m washing few enough bras that I can lay them out on a towel.

 

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But when you’re washing as many bras as I am . . . a rack is the way to go.

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(Word of advice and totally not speaking from experience: don’t forget you have plans and wash literally all your bras at once. Keep one in reserve.)

It may seem tedious, but getting into the habit of taking decent care of your bras will help extend their lifespan and also make you feel like you’ve accomplished something. I’m not saying you should go brag to your mom that you finally washed your bras, but give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve done well!

 

Jessika Rieck

Jessika disapproves of nametags, a certain Dido song, period piece films (except for Belle; that can stay), British literature, and many other things that probably bring you joy. She loves the phrase "tire fires," and wild owls flock to her wherever she goes, assisting with her daily chores. If you want to make her laugh, just mention "prancercise."